WP13:  JA-3 Nano-Engineering and pattern transfer methods

The Goal of NFFA-Europe PILOT (NEP)  (INFRAIA-03-2020) is to enhance European competitiveness in nanoscience and nano-to-micro analysis and nanotechnology. It is especially designed to support excellence of science and technology. To tackle complex nanoscience challenges, users’ projects increasingly require access to resources of internationally competitive academia, national laboratories and Analytical Large-Scale Facilities for fine analysis. This is a unique service for European nanoscience research that cannot be provided by any other individual research infrastructure.

NFFA-EUROPE PILOT (NEP) aims at expanding and consolidating the operation of a Interoperable Distributed Research Infrastructure for Nanoscience (IDRIN) supporting research on materials and functional systems at the nanoscale and at the microscale. NEP provides a unique overarching offer of experimental and theoretical facilities to be combined to suit user needs ranging from materials synthesis, growth, nanofabrication to nanocharacterization, microscopy and spectroscopies also with fine analysis methods at large scale X and neutron radiation sources, and to numerical simulation. The model IDRIN fostered by NEP builds on the four-year experience of transnational access provision of NFFA-Europe that delivered combined scientific services to over one thousand European users. NEP expands the catalogue of facilities with new offer of cleanroom services, high-end electron microscopy, unique 50-100 fs sources for optical and electron spectroscopies, Free Electron Laser beamlines and chemistry based mesoscale material science. An overarching metadata and data management tool (Metastore) will realize the interoperability of the NEP results and a unique open access archive of FAIR nanoscience data to merge with the EOSC. The multi-technique character of the NEP user proposals leads to advanced reproducibility of results, research goals and effectiveness in multi-disciplinary research for curiosity driven, mission-oriented and application-oriented projects by academic or industrial users. The transnational access is proposed in modalities that help coping with the post COVID-19 conditions of restricted user mobility: interactive remote access (IRA) will be available from the beginning in some TA facilities and will be further generalized through the Joint Activities along with innovative Virtual Access and pilots of FAIR-by-design data generation. The construction of the IDRIN will address the issues for Long Term Sustainability of the NEP infrastructure services.

LMIS1 is involved in the WP13 of this big project. Together with University of LUND, CSIC (IMB-CNM) and CNRS(C2N-CNRS) we will work on nano-engineering and pattern transfer methods. Nanolithography and pattern transfer play a decisive role in technology of nanostructures and determine the ultimate performance of nanofabrication. When sizes approach <10 nm (“single-digit nanofabrication”), the requirements for patterning become very demanding. Alternative methods of nano-processing, which rely on self-organisation (e.g. BCP) and controlled manipulation of single chemical bonds (e.g. ALD and ALE) are gaining momentum. At the same time, the conventional “top-down” methods are be used extensively. The present JA will deal with both types of approaches to develop state-of-the-art high-resolution lithography, including novel He+, BCP and thermal scanning probe lithography. They will be combined with the advanced pattern transfer methods, such as ALE to approach atomic precision in nano-engineering, in perspective of optimal performances of litho-based TA activity within NEP. This will be implemented by providing sets of technology protocols of nano-engineering methods of lithography and patterning, including all relevant know- how, to the TA offer. Technology recipes as well as metadata will be available for users in compliance with the IDRP requirements. The results generated within the current JA will be also used by other JAs, namely “Safe-by design discovery platform” (WP14) and “Correlative Nano-Spectroscopy” (WP15). Interactive Remote Access (IRA) for selected instruments and processes will be developed and tested during collaboration between the partners. The objectives of this JA are:

  1. Improve the performance of present lithographic techniques used in research to increase resolution and accuracy.
  2. Extend the applicability of the lithographic tools to research areas of high interest and demand from the European landscape, combining lithography and advanced patterning.
  3. Add and enable new high-performance lithographic tools to the TA offer.
  4. Provide a package of nano-engineering methods with optimised protocols and know-how.

To ensure an efficient transfer of the know-how generated in the WP and for widening the user community, a workshop will be organized in coordination with the outreach activities in NEP.